Tag Archives: the hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy

On the Bookshelf XXIV


Killing Pablo by Mark Bowden
The story of Pablo Escobar, head of the Colombian Medellin cocaine cartel – and the sixteen-month manhunt that brought him down. If you’ve read any of Bowden’s other work (especially Black Hawk Down), you’ll know what I mean when I say this book is insane. No, really. It’s like a Tom Clancy novel… except that everything in it actually happened.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
I was skimming through a collection of quotes from this book when I finally decided just to read it again. Funny how that works, isn’t it? And I’m rediscovering just how quotable Adams’s writing is. For instance: “If there’s anything more important than my ego around, I want it caught and shot now.”
Father Hunger by Douglas Wilson
“Most of our families are starving for fathers, even if Dad is around, and there’s a huge cost to our children and our society because of it.” Two chapters down and I am thoroughly impressed. But then, when it comes to Wilson, I usually am. $6.40 for a paperback copy is a steal.
The Thrilling Adventure Hour by Acker & Blacker
I’ve been a devoted follower of the podcast for over a year now. It is, for dead certain, the most hilarious thing I’ve ever had the pleasure of listening to. The graphic novel hasn’t charmed me quite as thoroughly yet. Sure, the artwork is lovely, and the writing is superb – but without the actors to give it voice, it simply isn’t the same. Maybe I’ll warm up to it in time. For now, it’s just okay.

What’s on your bookshelf right now?

Books Every Guy Should Read (Pt. 2)

I told you the list wouldn’t end with part one. In fact, it won’t end with part 2, either…

The Road by Cormac McCarthy
One of the greatest novels ever written, and my all-time favorite piece of fiction. It’s a tale of desperate survival, unrestrained depravity, and courage in the face of horrifying odds. But most importantly, it is a love story; a powerful love story. One that passionately depicts the fierce, undying affection that burns between a father and his son.

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
I really don’t know of anyone who hasn’t read this series. Timeless fantasy from the pen of a master writer.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
If I had to pick just one science fiction novel to call my favorite, it would almost certainly be this futuristic stunner from Ray Bradbury. It doesn’t revolve around aliens, robots, or mutating viruses. The primary focus is mankind… and the dangers inherent to a society that’s gone almost completely brain-dead.

Animal Farm by George Orwell
A classic, and one of those books that leaves a lasting impression on those who read it. Even though Stalinist Russia was the target when it was first written, its message is still crystal clear and relevant today.

Lord of the Flies by William Golding
An intensely haunting picture of the deep dark ugliness that naturally lurks within the sinful heart of man. By no means a pleasant read, but worthwhile one nevertheless.

The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis
This one will help you cultivate a “healthy interest” in devils, and also make you more acutely aware of the destructive ways in which Satan and his fallen angels work in the hearts, minds, and lives of men – especially Christians.

Carry On, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse
Vintage Wodehouse. ‘Nuff said.

Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy
Eschewing the conventions of the Western genre, McCarthy paints a raw and unforgettable picture of the oft glamorized “wild west” and weaves a bleak but thought-provoking tale of human depravity and violence. Beneath the grit and the author’s exceptional prose, it’s an unforgettable story that reaches out and hits you in a way you’ll never forget.

I, Robot by Isaac Asimov
There’s no denying Asimov’s talent for spinning an engrossing sci-fi yarn. This collection of short-stories is worth looking into, though caution should be exercised with regard to the author’s distinctly humanistic worldview.

The Holy War by John Bunyan
Most people recognize Bunyan as the author of The Pilgrim’s Progress, but this one is every bit as good. An incredible tale of spiritual warfare and redemption. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John Le Carre
I’m still working my way through this one, but so far, I have to say it’s one of the best espionage novels I’ve ever read. The story is intelligent, the characters are colorful and multi-dimensional, and the psychological tension is well-crafted.

The Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander
Another classic fantasy series, delightfully rich in story, characters, and adventure.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
If you’ve seen the movie Men In Black (1997), you’ll know exactly what I mean when I say that this book is the literary equivalent of that movie. Funny, funny, funny.

Fear Is the Key by Alistair MacLean
An intelligent thriller that grabs you from the first page. It’s fast-paced, intense, and unpredictable. And I really mean unpredictable: you’ll never know where your going until you get there. And, in the case of this novel at least, that’s a good thing.

Have any recommendations of your own? Any book you think should be featured in future installments of this list? If so, be my guest and share ‘em down in the comments section.

Book Review: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Douglas Adam’s The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is a crazy, crazy book. And I mean that in a totally good way.

Seconds before Earth is destroyed to make way for an intergalactic freeway, Arthur Dent is whisked away by his close pal, Ford Prefect, who’s been posing as an out-of-work actor for the last fifteen years… even though he’s really a researcher for a revised edition of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. And thus begins a wild journey through the galaxy, during which the two friends meet with out-of-this-world adventure and an assortment of zany characters.

If you’ve seen the movie Men In Black (1997), you’ll know exactly what I mean when I say that this book is the literary equivalent of that movie. To quote the School Library Journal, “Very simply, the book is one of the funniest SF spoofs ever written, with hyperbolic ideas folding in on themselves.”

The characters we are introduced to throughout the course of the story are a truly delightful bunch. There’s the hapless protagonist Arthur Dent, who can’t seem to view the demolition of his home planet with the same flippancy that his friend – the intrepid Ford Prefect – does. There’s Zaphod Beeblebrox, a double-headed ex-hippie endowed with extra appendages who also happens to be the President of the Galaxy, and his girlfriend, Trillian (whom Arthur once tried to pick up at a cocktail party on Earth). We also meet Marvin, a paranoid, chronically-depressed android. He’s positively hilarious, though I’m sure he wouldn’t think so.

Adam’s narration of the story is quick-moving and clever, and along the way, he offers plenty of hilarious commentary. For instance, concerning the horrendous poetry of a certain alien races, he writes,

Vogon poetry is of course the third worst in the Universe. The second worst is that of the Azgoths of Kria. During a recitation by their Poet Master Grunthos the Flatulent of his poem “Ode to the Small Lump of Green Putty I found in My Armpit One Midsummer Morning” four of his audience died of internal hemorrhaging, and the President of the Mid-Galactic Arts Nobbling Council survived by gnawing one of his own legs off. Grunthos is reported to have been “disappointed” by the poem’s reception, and was about to embark on a reading of his twelve-book epic entitled My Favorite Bathtime Gurgles when his own major intenstine, in a desperate attempt to save life and civilization, leaped straight up through his neck and throttled his brain.

Adams then adds,

The very worst poetry of all perished along with its creator, Paula Nancy Millstone Jennings of Greenbridge, Essex, England, in the destruction of the planet Earth.

Content-wise, the book is fairly clean. The author occasionally pokes fun at Christianity (there’s very little he doesn’t poke fun at), and needless to say, his understanding of it is pretty off-base. Some of the dialogue features a smattering of suggestive humor and crude language. Personally, I’d say the book is an appropriate choice for ages 15 and up.

I highly recommend The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. It’s not altogether perfect, but it’s certainly worth your time. It’s science fiction laced with laughs – and I can hardly think of a funnier book I’ve read all year.